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Rock 'N Polka

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Album Review

Learning that Jimmy Sturr watched Lawrence Welk as a child offers the central clue to understanding and appreciating his popular style of polka. While many might question the coupling of rock and polka, this is the type of schmaltz that Welk pulled off week after week on his television program (and reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show still run on PBS). Sturr, in fact, has more or less taken Welk's place, and has even received a modicum of respect from those outside his field. This respect can be measured on Rock 'N Polka by the presence of several high-profile guests including Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss. Nelson, in fact, is something of a co-star here, delivering versions of "Since I Met You Baby," "Singing the Blues," and "Bye Bye Love." Still, this is an album for Sturr fans, not country and bluegrass fans. It's difficult to imagine Lee Greenwood's version of "Personality" reviving his career, or Duane Eddy's new version of "Rebel Rouser" impressing rock critics. For those who like their polka without any artistic embellishments, Rock 'N Polka will be the best thing since Pat Boone recorded heavy metal. Now all Sturr needs is his own TV program. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 25 September 1941 in Florida, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and bandleader Jimmy Sturr is easily one of the most popular modern-day polka practitioners, with more than 100 albums to his credit since the 1960s. After extensive touring and recording, Sturr came into his own during the '80s and '90s, dominating the Grammy Awards' Best Polka Album honors and setting a record for the most consecutive nominations in any category. Looking beyond the standard outlets for polka music (Polish ethnic clubs, weddings, etc.), Sturr's...
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